Keith Neal 1st 10.5″ Win in NMRA Season Opener
Bradenton (FL) – Admittedly, Florida doesn’t suffer nearly the same degree of winter as much of the rest of the country. Sure, Southern Florida gets chilly, the days get shorter and most people cut back on their trips to the beach, but there is no snow to shovel, no need for two layers of long underwear and no morning warm-up sessions with the car before work. Regardless, you couldn’t help but feel like Spring was making its way back to the Sunshine State as race fans came in droves to pack the stands to hear the sweet sounds of summer played by Ford V8’s at the NMRA season opener.
One racer showing up to the event playing a very different tune that he must have learned over the winter was Keith Neal. Neal’s 2008 season could rightfully be classified as problematic. Always a solid racer, his Mustang had suffered mechanical difficulties at nearly every event in 2008, much to the frustration of the driver and team.
Having apparently found the gremlins and surgically removed them, Neal was able to focus on racing the car rather than diagnosing it. This weekend saw other teams in the Outlaw 10.5 class that would suffer what can only be described as a tough set of circumstances. While Jerry Morgano suffered a front end-collision, Conrad Scarry (2008’s champion) walked away from a horrific barrel roll and Dwayne James found his car engulfed in flames, Keith Neal was ripping off consistent low 7 second, 200 mph runs in his gorgeous red and black SN95.
Neal walked into Sunday’s eliminations mid pack with a tough group of seasoned competitors. Consistency was the name of the game for Keith Neal Racing as his 7.45 second pass held off Dwayne James in round one while Neal blasted out a 7.23 second run on a 0.013 R/T past an ailing Mike Murillo to make it to the finals.
Neal’s Mustang was dialed in all weekend and it showed again in the finals. Neal ripped off another 7.2 second pass to end the weekend and take home his first NMRA Outlaw 10.5 win! What a great way to start the season!